K-96 project back on market

The K-96 corridor's first development project is back on the market, a victim of the struggling Kansas commercial economy.

Developer Vernon Plough's 11,000-square-foot industrial building in the Highland Park subdivision is for sale or lease, after an auction company moved out.

The subdivision is at K-96 and Burmac in northwest Sedgwick County.

The building, the first project of the K-96 Corridor Development Association, is for sale for $450,000 or lease for $3,500 a month, Plough said.

The economic downturn has dramatically slowed plans to develop the subdivision on the north side of K-96 into a residential and commercial hub, Plough said.

"Oh, man. Fantastic timing," Plough said. "I've always been good at that.... It happened, though, and you've got to roll with the punches. At this point, though, I'm about rolled out."

The building, built in 2006, is part of a 25-acre subdivision with 13 business lots and 23 residential lots.

It originally was occupied by an architectural millwork company that couldn't handle the overhead, Plough said.

He made the deal with the auction company "to help us get along, and it lasted for a year and a half."

"My original hope was to bring in some kind of light industry here to stimulate some small employment for the community," Plough said. "I thought the best thing to do to kick-start this thing was to stick my neck out a little further and do the first development."

Harland Priddle, the executive director of the corridor association, said there is no shortage of development ideas for the highway and its communities, which include South Hutchinson, Haven, Mount Hope and Maize.

The shortage lies in deals and the money to do them, he said.

"There is interest in the corridor," Priddle said. "This is kind of like the sun coming up. It will happen. Eventually.

"One of the good things I think is that the communities along the corridor have stayed busy during the downturn. They are better positioned for development when it comes."